I’m Just Like You, Mom.

“It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?” – Mahatma Gandhi

I am just like you Mom….

I call out to my children, ripe into their youthful years, an umpteen number of times. Sometimes they do not respond. So, I barge into their rooms. “What???” she quip sometimes, with headphones plugged into their ears, the annoyance in their tone is a signal for me to leave. Their piercing gaze reflect the turbulence of the growing up years in a chaotic time as this. They sound harsh to fiercely guard the conflicting emotions that play in their heart and mind. Contrary to what they think, they need me now more than they did in the years gone by. So, even if they do not like it, I’m in their room and I stay to make sure they are fine.

I am a force that does not budge. “It’s my house” I retort smugly, “And I can be wherever I want to be!”

 I’m just like you, Mom…

I make up incredulous excuses to be by daughter’s side. She will be living across the country soon and I know I must let her go. I trust she will make the right decisions on her own. Yet I putter around her room, mumble about it being messy, just a pretense to spend a little time with her. To let her know I will be there for her always. It is just like the time when I was seventeen. “I need some privacy”, I’d plead to you. Yet you would hang around my room.  I was naïve, and I thought that meant “Privacy? I am your mother. I am not supposed to give you any!” Though now I understand, all you wanted is for your baby to know she is loved.

I’m just like you, Mom…

In the middle of the day, when they are pottering the kitchen for a snack I casually ask the kids, “You are wearing clean underwear, right?” They look at me, an expression of disdain that says, “MOM, seriously??? I’m not four. GAWD!”

Not looking up from the book I am reading, I remark. “I know that, but I also know you have not done your laundry in a while.” They leave in a huff but that night I hear the low buzz of the washing machine. Simple, straightforward reminders like ‘Do your laundry’ do not always work.

I’m just like you, Mom…

The children excitedly tell me about their day, about their achievements. I listen intently. I am very proud of them but the first question I always ask is “Did you eat your lunch today?” Pursed lips they wonder, ‘Does she even care about what I said?’ Of course, I do more than they will ever know. Though growing up I gave you a lot of grief by merely grazing my food. Then, eating seemed like a waste of time. I had more important things to do. Now I know, the food I’ve cooked nourishes their growing bodies and nurtures their confused souls. What could be more important than that?

I’m just like you, Mom…

My son comes home from tennis with a twisted ankle. I lightly touch the painful spot and say a heartfelt prayer for his healing. He gives me a puzzled look, “That’s not going to help, Mom.” Growing up, every time I came to you with a problem, you always told me to pray. Those days I was wary of believers. I needed more scientific evidence. Now life has taught me that faith does make mountains move. Faith is what I will hold onto when it is time to let my kids go.  

I’m just like you, Mom…I have learnt that it is the simple things in life that make a difference. Every time my kids annoy me, I see their flaws are exaggerated versions of mine and it is in those very moments that I see so much of you in me. I am just like you…

And I do hope I have imbibed and will pass on your strength, your zest for life and your cheery attitude to the kids…

I want to be just like you.

With mom, Annapoorani at Alibaug Beach, Mumbai

A version of this post was first published in “Grown And Flown” in April 2018.

One comment

  1. Very beautiful thoughts Vidya! I also go through some of these incidents but u are showing me a different angle to look at the same events.. Keep writing!

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